Local students are “kicking butts.”
Students in the Union City School System and Obion County’s elementary schools are joining thousands of youth across the nation by taking part in Kick Butts Day — a nationwide initiative that makes children leaders in the effort to stop youth tobacco use.
As part of the Kick Butts Day celebration Wednesday, middle school students are making the pledge to live tobacco-free lives.
Throughout the year, young advocates take part in a variety of activities to protect children from tobacco, including working with elected officials to develop policies that reduce youth tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke and educating their peers about tobacco companies’ deceptive marketing practices.
Students will attend assemblies promoting a tobacco free life; be entertained by “Ciggy,” whose message is “Don’t Smoke Me, Be Tobacco Free”; sign pledge cards for “Live Billboards”; and participate in a “Tobacco Free” door decorating contest.
Wednesday, elementary, middle and high school students across the country are organizing Kick Butts Day events to fight youth tobacco use. Young people will participate in a variety of Kick Butts Day activities such as marching to state capitals and holding rallies; meeting with elected officials; and holding flash mobs in busy community spaces.
In 2011, thousands of children carried out hundreds of events. Organizers expect this number to increase in 2012.
“Kids are a powerful part of the solution to reducing youth tobacco use,” said Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which coordinates Kick Butts Day. “For Kick Butts Day 2012, kids are sending two important messages: they want the tobacco industry to stop targeting them with advertising and they want elected leaders at all levels to do more to protect them from tobacco.”
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, killing more than 400,000 people every year. Every day, more than 4,000 children try their first cigarettes and another 1,000 become addicted smokers, one-third of whom will die prematurely as a result.
The Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is one of the largest non-governmental education and advocacy initiatives ever undertaken to decrease youth tobacco use in the United States. Tobacco-Free Kids strives to build a healthier future for children by reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
For more information about the Kick Butts Day events at Union City Middle School and Obion County elementary schools, contact Regina Hendon, coordinator of the Obion County Prevention Coalition, at (731) 504-7777 or email email@example.com.
For information on the national initiative, visit the Kick Butts Day website at kickbuttsday.org.
Published in The Messenger 3.19.12